Infowars host Alex Jones has filed for personal bankruptcy. The controversial media personality filed weeks after he lost a civil trial in which he was told to pay more than £1billion in damages to the families of those affected by the Sandy Hook massacre.
Jones, 48, made a name for himself in the right-wing political sphere with his online show Infowars, in which he speak about conspiricy theories. He most recently hit the headlines after rapper Kanye West was welcomed as a guest on the show and shared controversial anti-semetic and pro-Nazi rhetoric.
The host was at the centre of a court case against families who had lost children in the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Jones, who shared unfounded conspiracy theories that the shooting was staged, lost the trial and was hit with the huge damages bill as a result.
Jones has now filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in his native Texas. His filing listed one billion to 10 billion dollars in liabilities.
Who is Alex Jones?
Alex Jones came to prominence as his far-right website Infowars grew in popularity from 2016 onwards. The website was said to have been garnering 10 million monthly visits in 2017 at the height of its popularity.
Jones became well-known from his outlandish and contentious dialogues on his flagship show. This included fake news stories as well as the host advocating for controversial conspiracy theories.
One of the most controversial conspiracy theories Jones covered and platformed was that the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School - in which 27 people were killed - was a staged event. The claims garnered widespread criticism as Jones doubled down on his claims that the massacre had been perpetrated by those aiming to ban gun or introduce gun control into the US.
What happened at Sandy Hook trial?
Three families whose children had been killed in the massacre sued Jones for defamation in 2018. Jones later backtracked on his belief of the conspiracy theory, saying that he no longer believed the shooting was a “hoax”.
Six more families of victims followed in suing the Infowars host. Before his trial began in Texas, Jones and Infowars were fined a total of $126,000 for failing to co-operate and hand over evidence or produce witnesses.
In August 2022, a Texas judge ordered Jones to pay $4.1M in compensatory damages and a further a further $45.2M in punitive damages to the families of the Sandy Hook victims. Four months prior to this, Jones had filed bankruptcy for the first time due to the cost of trials.
In October 2022, there were further damages awarded to the Sandy Hook families. Jones was ordered to pay a further $965 million in damages, bringing his total damages for the conspiracy theory to around $1.5bn.